6+ Fantastic Apps To Replace Android Honeycomb’s Stock Keyboard

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android better keyboardNo matter how futuristic typing on touchscreen devices may seem, the larger reality is that you (and plenty of other users) are probably more used to typing with physical keyboards. The idea of doing all of our regular typing using solely a virtual keyboard, even on a larger device with more screen real estate, simply doesn’t always seem that attractive.

You have probably even come to the conclusion that a full-sized physical keyboard is much bigger a joy to use compared to a smartphone or tablet on-screen keyboard. It can take some getting used to, but typing on a touch-screen device doesn’t have to be a complete nightmare, especially if you download one of the fully-featured keyboard apps on this article.

The ones you’ll see on this collection are optimized for Android Honeycomb tablets, which ship with a good-looking, multi-lingual keyboard. It’s definitely not bad, but it could use a few enhancements here and there. One such enhancement is a split-keyboard layout, which is great to use if your device is in landscape mode.

Thus, you’ll see quite a few apps on this list that offer a split-keyboard layout, custom key sizes, and other handy features that will make it less awkward to type comfortably on your tablet and that the stock keyboard doesn’t provide. That was the case for me at least, when I tested the different apps on an Acer Iconia Tab A500. So without further ado, let’s go check out what apps made it on our list.

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Perfect Keyboard Free [Android 2.2+]

android better keyboard
Price: Free

What’s hot:

  • Adjustable key sizes,
  • Offers predictive text,
  • Auto-completion,
  • Gestures to automatically enter frequently used actions or characters,
  • Backup/restore settings and dictionaries,
  • Emoji dictionary,
  • Many additional language packs are available,
  • Free version seems to have same features as paid/donate version,
  • Saves your new words.

What’s not:

  • Additional language dictionaries/language packs have to downloaded separately (but they are free and plentiful).

QR Code:

best android keyboard

A.I.type Tablet Keyboard Beta [Android 2.2+]

best android keyboard

Price: Free

What’s hot:

  • Offers predictive text, including cloud-based prediction (uses Internet when connected to find correct spelling) which can be turned off
  • Emoji dictionary,
  • Auto-correction,
  • Arrow keys,
  • Number keys above keyboard like a physical keyboard,
  • Many languages available out of the box,
  • Lots of appearance options and themes (iPhone, Windows 8, Windows Phone 7, etc).

What’s not:

  • Text prediction is only offered in English for now (although there are many language keyboards available)

QR Code:

best android keyboard

Note: There’s no paid version of the tablet app, but there’s a paid/donate version for smartphones.

MultiLing Keyboard [Android 2.2+]

android keyboard app
Price: Free

What’s hot:

  • Gestures to automatically enter frequently used actions or characters,
  • Offers predictive text based on contacts names,
  • Volume keys can be set as right or left arrows,
  • 4 key sizes to choose from,
  • Auto-correction options,
  • All features are available without limitations (donate version available)
  • Additional language plugins are available for download gratis.

What’s not:

  • Language plugins must be downloaded separately.

QR Code:

Open Split Keyboard [Android 2.3.3+]

android keyboard app
Price: Free

What’s hot:

  • Offers predictive text,
  • 3 layouts including 2 split ones with number on top and in middle,
  • Auto-completion,
  • Auto-corrections,
  • Saves your new words.

What’s not:

  • Somewhat small keys (size isn’t adjustable)
  • Says additional language dictionaries are available but when I chose them, they wouldn’t show up when typing

QR Code:

android keyboard app

Thumb Keyboard [Android 2.2]

thumb

Price: $2.53 on Android Market, $2.46 on Amazon

What’s hot:

  • Has themes (can choose backgrounds for keyboard),
  • Offers auto-completion,
  • Predictive text,
  • Corrections,
  • Can change height and width of keys,
  • Keyboards for phones AND 7 or 10 inch tablets,
  • 3 different layouts including for one handed operation, split , full with keys you can assign on top for all layouts,
  • Emoji dictionary,
  • Saves your new words,
  • Accented vowels available on long-hold

What’s not:

  • No free/trial version

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SwiftKey Tablet X Free [Android 2.1+]


Price: Free (for one month); full version is $4.99 on Android Market (same price for Amazon)

What’s hot:

  • Has 2 layouts: split and full,
  • Predictive text,
  • Auto-completion,
  • Learns your typing style from gmail/facebook/other social networks,
  • Stats for efficiency and letters saved,
  • Saves your new words.

What’s not:

  • App is a 30-day trial.

QR Code:

Honorable mentions go to the following FREE apps:

  • Tablet Keyboard Free [Android 3.0+] provides full and split keyboards, with numbers above the good-sized letter keys. Perfect for those looking for a no-frills split keyboard without an avalanche of complicated features. Paid (read: donate) version is also available with no apparent differences from the free app.
  • AnySoftKeyboard [Android 1.5+] supports gestures and has a massive collection of language packs and plugins, including math and logic symbols.
  • Hacker’s Keyboard [Android 2.2+] offers a keyboard like you would find on a computer, with Alt, Shift, Escape, Fn and arrow keys. It’s a gem if you need to use a SSH client like ConnectBot.

Now would be a good idea to mention that if your Honeycomb tablet has a full USB port and you don’t have objections to owning a netbook-wannabe device (but I don’t), you could always plug in any USB keyboard designed for Windows (keyboards for Mac don’t seem to be compatible yet). If your physical Windows keyboard came in a combo with a mouse, it will be recognized in Honeycomb out of the box!
android better keyboard
Do you have any keyboard app recommendations? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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8 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Apo

i use the hackers keyboard. im not too big on the split keyboard with the numpad in the middle.

Jessica Cam W.

I use that one with ConnectBot. :-)

Reply

Mike

I can’t believe Swype isn’t mentioned – it’s by far the best.

Jessica Cam W.

I couldn’t find Swype for Honeycomb in the Android Market. Apparently, you have to register on the Swype website to download the apk. I do agree that Swype is indispensable on Froyo phones.

Reply

Lynn

Swype came with my Android and I love it! I wouldnt change it for any other out there. 

Jessica Cam W.

Swype came with your Android tablet? Which tablet do you have?

Reply

Tull

If you want to try something really new, see the Kee4 Soft Keyboard on Android Market (currently only available for Honeycomb).
It is an on-screen version of the revolutionary Kee4 Keyboard that uses only four (4) keys! For details see kee4.com
Admittedly, it is not for everybody, it takes time to learn, but it is worth it.

Jessica Cam W.

It looks quite interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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